Memories Of The Sibodnedwabshire Piggeries

Those who grew up in Sibodnedwabshire are forever haunted by memories of its piggeries, in the shadow of those Blue Forgotten Hills. The hills may be – oh mercifully! – forgotten, but the piggeries are not. Consider the song, still sung, or croaked, by aged decrepit Sibodnedwabshireites in the cobwebbed rumpus rooms of their hospices:

The hopes and fears of all the years
The cutman with his rusty shears
The orphans wet behind the ears
Oh swine of Sibodnedwabshire

It is not a pretty song.

There were a dozen piggeries in all, each penning dozens of pigs, except for the one that was empty of pigs, the one everybody remembers with a shudder, its piglessness both eerie and ridiculous. There was mud there, of course, mud aplenty, but not a single pig to wallow in it. The only things living in that mud were worms, tiny wriggling albino worms, worms from a child’s nightmare.

Wormy nightmares, but piggy dreams. So many dreamers dreaming of those remembered pigs in the piggeries that there is now a clinical term – PTSD, or Pig-Themed Sibodnedwabshire Dreaming. In their dotage now, those who were long long ago the tots of Sibodnedwabshire have their hospice pillows embroidered with pig motifs, the better to prompt their dreams.

What of the cutman, with his rusty shears? He would fly in, over the Blue Forgotten Hills, every Sunday, in his biplane, and come into land at the aerodrome. Accompanied by the Shire Stymonsieur, he would tour the twelve piggeries, yes, even that eerie and ridiculous pigless piggery, bandying his shears, encrusted with rust, and singing his song.

I am the cutman, come to the shire
My heart as hot as an Elmo fire
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
Oh swine of Sibodnedwabshire

It was not a pretty song.

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